Australia vs Pakistan: I am going to open with Fakhar Zaman, confirms captain Babar Azam

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Fast bowling could be Pakistan's biggest strength in the three-match Twenty20 series against Australia with the likes of rookie paceman Mohammad Musa and experienced Mohammad Amir in the squad, team captain Babar Azam said Friday. Pakistan also recalled fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, while Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Hasnain are the other pace options. "There's extra bounce on those (Australian) pitches and our strength is fast bowling," Babar said in Lahore on the eve of the team's departure for Australia.

 

"It's a combination of seniors and youngsters. When you go with youngsters they give 100% to express themselves and it will give us an edge." Babar is ranked No. 1 1 in the Twenty20 batting chart and will be leading the top-ranked side for the first time after Pakistan dropped Sarfaraz Ahmed when second-string Sri Lanka recorded a 3-0 sweep in Lahore earlier this month. "It was not their (Sri Lanka's) C team, it was their national team. It was a young team and we have learned a lot from that series," Babar said. One of the key factors in Pakistan's whitewash against Sri Lanka was Babar's run of three poor scores -- 13, 3, 27 -- at the top order. But the Pakistan captain said he would continue to open the innings in Australia with Fakhar Zaman and with Imam-ul-Haq as the backup. "You judged in three matches that my performance has come down?"

 

Babar asked. "I am going to open with Fakhar and as a backup, we are taking Imam-ul-Haq." Babar idolizes New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and India skipper Virat Kohli and said he has been "studying" how those two play their roles in the success of their respective teams. "When the responsibility comes, it doubles up the pressure but to overcome that I should try to keep myself focused," Babar said. "I am not thinking about that if I perform and the team doesn't perform it's OK. I will try to give a performance and take performance from the team, too."

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